Restless Shadows, Waiting Road by Yolande Kleinn

Restless Shadows, Waiting Roads - cover
Restless Shadows, Waiting Road by Yolande Kleinn
Publisher: Less Than Three Press
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Paranormal, Contemporary
Length: Short Story (50 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

As a child, Caleb was helplessly drawn to the woods behind his family’s house—a deep forest that became a friend, a sharer of secrets, even a protector. On the night Caleb was stranded by a blizzard, a mysterious figure saved his life and kept him from harm.

But all too soon his family moved away, and Caleb set the mysterious stranger aside as a figment of his imagination. Now, more than fifteen years later, Caleb returns to the woods he left behind and encounters a familiar face…

Anything can be hidden in the woods.

Caleb was fascinating. I liked seeing how he matured from boyhood to adulthood, especially since so much of his tale was focused on what he was like as a child. His personality had plenty of opportunities to reveal itself, and I enjoyed figuring out exactly what kind of person he was.

The narrator told the reader what was happening instead of showing it to us. The premise itself was interesting, but I had trouble keeping my attention focused on the storyline because of how disconnected I felt from what was going on. It felt like I was hearing a thirdhand account of what Caleb experienced instead of observing it alongside him.

One of the things that first piqued my interest in this story was the mysterious stranger mentioned in the blurb. I was curious to see who this individual would be and how they would interact with a little boy who’d gotten himself lost in the woods. Unravelling what was going on with this was a highlight of the plot for me because of how methodically everything was revealed.

There were some pacing problems. So much time was spent on setting everything up in the beginning that the middle and ending felt rushed to me. This almost felt like the first chapter of a full-length book instead of a complete short story. It would have worked well as the introduction to a longer work, but it felt uneven at its current size and pacing due to how little time there was to explain what was happening.

The forest itself was memorable. Ms. Kleinn’s descriptions of what it feels like to walk through the forest in the middle of winter made me shiver in sympathy. It definitely can be a cold, damp, and soggy experience. She captured both the beauty and the misery of that kind of stroll well.

I’d recommend Restless Shadows, Waiting Road to anyone who likes romance novels that include a few fantasy themes.

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